With technological advancements, working under stress at workplaces and changing lifestyles, humans have been slowly becoming susceptible to many diseases, such as diabetes, cardiac problems and also hypertension. For now, as May 17 is being observed as 'World Hypertension Day', we give you a clarion call to those leading sedentary lifestyles and stressful work-life.
What Is Hypertension?
Hypertension, also known as High Blood Pressure, is a silent enemy in which the long-term pressure exerted by the blood against the artery walls is high enough that it may eventually lead to serious health conditions, such as heart attack or stroke. In other words, the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in arteries decide one's blood pressure. If the heart pumps more blood while the arteries are narrower, the condition of high blood pressure occurs. Blood pressure is measured by two types of pressures
Systolic Pressure - the maximum pressure at which the heart pumps blood around the body
Diastolic Pressure - the minimum pressure at which the heart relaxes and refills with blood
Know Your BP Numbers
Normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 90-140 mmHg systolic and 60-90 mmHg diastolic OR an average reading no higher than 120/80 mmHg (millimetres of mercury)
High blood pressure - a reading of 140/90 or higher
Pre-hypertension - anything in between normal and high blood pressure
Low blood pressure – a reading under 90/60
Signs And Symptoms
Without any signs or symptoms, you can have high blood pressure although your blood pressure readings show higher levels and this condition usually develops over many years. But, a few people with hypertension may do experience
Shortness of breath or nosebleeds
Vertigo or dizziness
Tinnitus - buzzing/hissing/ringing sensation in the ears
Causes And Types Of Hypertension
On the basis of causing factors, high blood pressure is divided into two types
Primary/Essential Hypertension - More common type and develops gradually over many years but there are no any identifiable causes. Factors such as ageing, high salt intake, lack of exercise, obesity, depression and etc are thought to contribute to this kind of hypertension.
Secondary Hypertension - Happens suddenly and causes higher blood pressure than primary hypertension does. Factors such as kidney damage, adrenal gland over-activity or tumours, sleep apnoea syndrome, tumours, recreational drugs, thyroid gland dysfunctioning, aortic coarctation, pregnancy-related conditions, certain medications, congenital diseases, inheritance, drugs and alcohol consumption and etc contribute to this kind of hypertension.
The higher your blood pressure the higher chances of damaged blood vessels and damaged organs. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to heart attack, heart failure, life-threatening aneurysm (weaken blood vessels), abnormal kidney functioning, vision loss, metabolic syndrome and trouble with memory or understanding.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Blood pressure normally varies throughout the day. So, before diagnosing, doctors prefer to take two to three blood pressure readings in their three consecutive appointments. Sometimes, doctors may ask you to note down blood pressure readings while you are at home and at work.
Doctors may suggest ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in which the device measures blood pressure at regular intervals over a 24-hour period.
Routine tests like urine test, blood tests, cholesterol test etc., are recommended.
Doctors also go through your medical history if you have high blood pressure.
Based on the test results, doctors recommend the needed medication to lower blood pressure.
Changing to healthy lifestyle in addition to consuming healthy diet with recommended salt intake, exercising daily, quitting smoking and alcohol and leading a happy and healthy life can work better to control an individual's blood pressure levels.
(Images Courtesy: Shutterstock)